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Business Marketing

The Real Estate Industry is One Big Meatball Sundae



I have a training budget and part of that budget includes money for books. Most of the books I buy are about marketing, and I am a major Seth Godin fan. I have several of his books, including his latest, Meatball Sundae. Meatball Sundae is about all the ways that marketing has changed, Godin says it has changed in 14 ways. Mass media is no longer the only channel for marketing, the internet give us infinite channels. According to Godin “business growth comes from…satisfying the people who can best leverage your idea,” the book focuses on how the internet has changed everything when it comes to marketing. The meatball sundae has to do with what is being marketed. I think that is where the book is most applicable to our industry.

The meatball represents the products that we sell. The same old products. In our industry we can call our services the meatball. The same services we have been marketing to consumers forever. The sundae is how we market our services. We take the meatball and put some new topping on it to make it look pretty and then go out and try to sell that same old meatball. Not very appealing, or desirable in the market place, and not what consumers are asking for.The internet has changed our industry. I don’t believe that people will be buying houses on the internet any time soon. My husband works for a car dealership that is all set up so that consumers can buy a car through the internet. They have had that service for their customers for many years. People use the web sites for research but still come into the store to look at the car and test drive it before buying. The internet will not eliminate our jobs but it is changing them, yet we continue with the same old business models and commission structures and even fight to keep them in place. We keep our meatball looking the same and put new toppings on it as we market it.

The internet, and the unlimited number of marketing channels gives our industry the opportunity to create new business models and provide new services to our clients. Often I see agents using web technology to market in the same old way. Where they used to send snail mail post cards with their faces on them they now “drip” email with their face on it. We are not only selling the same old meatball but we are taking advantage of new advertising channels and methods but at the same time using them the same way that we used the old mass media channels.

I read the entire book on two airplanes. With my short attention span a book has to be pretty gripping to hold my attention that long. I enjoy Godin’s writing style and his books can be read very quickly but it is better to read them a chapter at a time and absorb the ideas before continuing to the next chapter.

My favorite Seth Godin book is ” Small is the New Big.: I read it just as my blog was starting to take off and I think it had an influence on my writing style and my ideas for posts. Last winter I read “The Dip”, and I did not like it at all. it is about knowing when to quit. While I agree that sometimes quitting is best I did not find any useful advice in the book about how to quit or when to quit.

Real estate practitioners and the industry it self can learn from reading books and taking training that is not just for the real estate industry. When I look at my job I see myself as a marketer. I spend more time and money marketing that I do on any single activity. Most of my training in the area comes from books and even classes that are written or provided through other industries. The ideas from the outside world enable us to think outside the box and even to look at ways to stop marketing that same old meat ball and start thinking about new products and opportunities.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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  1. Sarah Cooper

    January 29, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I love Seth Godin and look for ideas anywhere. It’s amazing how many things I came up with while helping my little sister in law plan her wedding! I think just working on something else can free up your brain to connect old stuff in a new way.

  2. Bob Carney

    January 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Could you cliff notes this in 140 characters or less? Great feedback on this book…it’s another one need to add to the bookshelf wish list.

  3. Mariana

    January 29, 2008 at 8:57 am

    “My favorite Seth Godin book is ” Small is the New Big.: I read it just as my blog was starting to take off and I think it had an influence on my writing style and my ideas for posts.” (I love quoting you…)

    “Small is the New Big” was the book I read right before I started blogging, and, in fact a review of that book was the VERY FIRST blog post I ever wrote. Seth is one of my all-time-favorites.

    Will you please sit next to me on the 12th, Teresa?

  4. ines

    January 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    What can I say but “Seth is DA Man!” – I totally agree with you about training and looking outside the box for marketing ideas. I have found that Marketing has given me a creative out that I need in the real estate industry. It can be a lot of fun and there is always so much to learn.

  5. Benjamin Bach

    January 29, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Teresa, I just did a quick interview with Seth here:

    Also, he gave us 5 HUGE but short tips here:

    Are you hearing him at Family Reunion ?

  6. Jeff Brown

    January 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Teresa — I’d love to hear your thoughts on hiring a marketing expert. It’s what agents advocate to property owners, so I’m wondering about your views on your more or less do-it-yourself approach. Thanks

  7. Brad Coy

    January 30, 2008 at 3:54 am


    This is a good read on the topic using new media. Another, akin to this is “The New Rules of Marketing and PR by Davin Meerman Scott.

    Andy Kaufman and I found ourselves with a some folks at a Meetup networking function tonight were the Meatball Sundae Idea seemed to be the topic du jour. So much so in fact that by the end of the evening they raffled a autograph copy of the book at which both our numbers were called. Having both read it we passed and were given instead free “boot camp” style work out sessions. I think there is some strange injustice at work for being so ambitious in consuming this new media knowledge.

  8. Andy Kaufman

    February 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    …and since then, I’ve re-read my copy of Meatball Sundae and that free pass for the ‘boot camp’ session is currently unused, and staring me down.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.



Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.



Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.



Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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